October 2017

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The University’s current Teaching and Learning (T&L) Strategy 2013-2018 is coming to the end of its current timeframe and the Teaching and Learning Strategy Board has been tasked with developing the next iteration.

We already are working with RUSU to gather feedback from Course Representatives, however we also want to offer all students the opportunity to contribute to the renewed Strategy. Your input will help us to ensure the Strategy is fit for purpose and delivers what you need as a student here at Reading.

T&L Strategy 2018-21

The renewed T&L Strategy 2018-21 will focus on building upon the major strategic activities commenced under the 2013-18 Strategy. We have already committed future time and resource to these and believe they are starting to have a positive impact on teaching and learning and your student academic experience at Reading (e.g. Curriculum Framework, EMA programme.).

Our draft T&L Strategy is available to read here.

If you would like to help us by contributing your thoughts, please email tandlstrategy@reading.ac.uk.

In particular, we welcome:

(1) Your reflections and comments on the draft T&L Strategy 2018-21 from a student perspective

(2) Your thoughts on what you see as the priorities for T&L at Reading beyond 2021

We will be collating feedback until Thursday 30 November 2017.

Towards the end of the autumn term, I will work with colleagues to review all the feedback gathered.

We intend to finalise and communicate the renewed T&L Strategy 2018-21 to staff and students in the spring term 2018.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Professor Gavin Brooks

PVC Teaching and Learning

We caught up with a member of the Disability Advisory Service team to see who they are and what they can do for you. Here’s what we found… 

What is the Disability Advisory Service?

The Disability Advisory Service (DAS) is a service for students that focuses on supporting current and prospective students with Disabilities. They support a wide range of physical or sensory disabilities, mental health difficulties, medical conditions and learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or ASD.

What kind of services do you offer? 

DAS provides information and advice for current and prospective students.

Students may not be aware of the support that they are able to receive. The government (through the DSA application process) provides non-means tested grants that can help support student with disabilities.

DAS has links with:

  • Academic departments
  • DSA (Disabled Student Allowance)
  • Specialist support
  • Arrangements for Exams

How can students make an appointment?

It’s very easy for students to make an appointment with the Disability and Advisory Service. You can email them at disability@reading.ac.uk or call them on 0118 987 4202.

Where can students come and find you?

The Disability and Advisory Service can be found right at the heart of campus in the Carrington Building on the ground floor. Opening hours are from 10am-4pm.

The Counselling service can be found on the 1st floor.

Confidentiality?

Confidentiality is key. There are many private offices where meetings can take place. In addition to this, consent forms can be signed to share information with relevant parties only, and this is completely at the discretion of the student (this even counts for parents too!)

Don’t forget!

  • It’s not just visible medical conditions that can count as a disability
  • Requirements for support in university examinations need to be sorted by Feb 9th 2018
  • It’s never too late to find out what support you may be eligible for!

It’s key that you know about the exciting changes to student support that took place over the summer!

The University has committed to making significant improvements to the student experience by investing in five brand new Support Centres for teaching and learning support.

The new Support Centres opened on 1 August 2017, ready for new students and those returning for the new academic year in September.

The Support Centres are your first ports of call for all queries, where dedicated Student Support Coordinators will be able to offer advice and help signpost on a range of academic and non-academic issues including:

  • Coursework and exams
  • Disability assistance
  • Extenuating circumstances
  • Financial support
  • Placements and internships (each school has a dedicated Placement Officer to help support you with this)
  • Programme advice
  • Timetable queries
  • Welfare and wellbeing

The Student Support Coordinators are members of staff who are trained to deal with student enquiries and who have previously worked in School offices to support you and your School.

You can visit any of the five Support Centre locations for assistance, depending on which is most convenient for you.

Please note – If you are a Henley Business School student you should continue to visit your existing Support Centre located in HBS as you have done previously.

Students studying on Finance degree programmes should visit the first floor deck of the ICMA Centre building.  Our Programme Administrators are there to help you with a range of academic and non-academic queries.

The Admin Decks in both the Henley Business School and ICMA Centre buildings are open on weekdays from 9.00 – 5.00 pm throughout term-time and during vacation periods. You do not need an appointment, simply come by and one of the team will be happy to help you.

Postgraduate research students will need to contact the Graduate School in Old Whiteknights House. You can get hold of them by calling +44 (0)118 378 5063 or via the online form from the Graduate School website.

Pre-sessional English and International Foundation Programme students will need to go to the ISLI Admin Office (room 224) in the Edith Morley building. You can email them on isli@reading.ac.uk or call +44 (0)118 378 5289.

For more information, click here.

Sometimes we all need that little extra bit of support or guidance.

There are many different ways of getting support through your university for a range of reasons. Take a look below to see what the University can help you with…

Study Support – This is support for any academic queries you might have. Ideally, you should always make an appointment with your Personal Tutor in your academic department. However, you can always speak to your Liaison Librarian (for specific questions about researching and sourcing information), a member of the Disability Advisory Service (for support to help you overcome any barriers that you may have from a disability) or check out The Study Advice Service. For more practical academic support, the IT Service Desk is available at it@reading.ac.uk, head over to RUSU Academic Advice, or you can attend a Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) session within your academic school. The main reason you’re here is to study, so if you have any questions or difficulties then don’t hesitate to ask for help!

Support for your Wellbeing – Your personal wellbeing and happiness is just as important as getting good grades. The RUSU Advice Service is an easy first point of call for any support you might need, and they can signpost you on if you need specific help. If you’re a first year undergraduate then join up to the STaR Mentor scheme, which is excellent to make sure that you’ve settled in and have a friendly face to talk to. For more specific help, you can book an appointment with the Counselling and Wellbeing Team for any therapeutic support for mental illness or personal difficulty, or speak to the Disability Advisory Service for help overcoming barriers that affect your ability to work or go about your daily routine. Other alternatives to the support mentioned above is the Chaplaincy for more spiritual guidance, or book yourself onto a Life Tools Talk for recommendations on a specific topic such as resilience, mindfulness or concentration. If you have an issue or if you are struggling in any way it’s important to seek help sooner rather than later!

Financial Support – It can be tricky to juggle and keep on track with your finances, so if you have any difficulties then you definitely don’t want to wait around for it to get any worse. It’s best to speak to the Financial Advice team straight away if you have any concerns.

Accommodation and Campus Support – For any concerns about your accommodation or university halls then either speak to RUSU Advice or the Accommodation Team. They are a friendly bunch, helping to make sure that you feel happy and content with you room and housing. If you have any concerns about safety and security when on campus, then contact The Security Team, who are available 24/7 on 0118 378 6300. It’s a good idea to put this number in your phone, just in case!

Not sure? – If you’re not sure who to contact about a query, you can always go to the Support Centres, SSCs and the Help Desk, who will be more than happy to have a chat with you and point you in the right direction.

 

 

 

Are you just hanging around? Feeling a little sleepy?

As cute and cuddly as sloths are, feeling tired and not doing much doesn’t do you any good. Here are a few ways to boost your energy and feel more productive…

There are the essentials – eating and sleeping well. It is a well-known fact that your happiness, mood and productivity largely correlates to the amount of sleep you have and if you’re eating nutritious meals. Whether you are studying, socialising, exercising or taking part in a society, you need to be on top form, so give your body a chance and treat it well – try something new at the food market, go the extra mile and cook a meal from scratch and finally, get at least 7 hours of rest a night. It’s also a good idea to avoid charging electrical devices overnight, as unnecessary lighting can affect the amount of sleep you have!

Next, there is exercise. It can seem difficult to find the time to get out and do some exercise, however the benefits are really worthwhile. It’s important to relax, but getting out and letting off some steam can really boost your mood as well as provide the health benefits, so take a look at the wellbeing blog for some ideas. Exercise is also great for clearing your mind from a tough essay and giving your eyes a rest from staring at a screen from too many assignments (…and too much Netflix). So put on those trainers, plug into a great workout playlist and ask a friend to go with you, it’s really not as bad as you might think!

Now here is the tricky part – planning ahead. Whether you have too much or too little planned, it’s amazing what a bit of variety in your schedule can do for you. Obviously, you need to make sure you have enough time to complete assignments, but social planning also needs some consideration. Make sure that you are not attending too many as this can affect your enjoyment of them; pick carefully the ones that really interest you.

Finally, being a student is not just about working hard and playing hard, it’s also about setting yourself up for the future (sometimes a daunting but definitely an exciting process!) Make sure you attend Careers events, such as the Careers Fair, go along to a topical lecture hosted by your academic department or even try some volunteering. For improving your personal development, take a look at the Reading Essentials page or attend a Life Tools talk. All of these will help you get set up for life after university and will automatically make you feel ahead of the game.

Week 6 is approaching! Use it to do all the things you haven’t had a chance to yet – from academic and careers workshops, to student activities and exploring the local wildlife.

1. Your departmental events

Week 6 might mean a brief pause for your regular modules, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be things happening in your department. Expect a mix of compulsory and optional events covering careers and academic advice, opportunities to meet staff members and discuss Further Study options, field trips and more.

2. Life Tools & Careers events. 

Now is the perfect time to reflect on how you are coping with university life, and how well-prepared you are for post-graduation life. Use this opportunity to check out the workshops you might not have had time to go to so far in the term. Sign up for careers workshops at My Jobs Online and see the full list of Life Tools talks from the Wellbeing team.

3. Upgrade your library skills.

Whether you’re yet to take out a book, or are a journal-trawling pro, the library offers so many different resources to help you excel in your academic and research work. Check out this blog post from the Library with ten tips to try out, from accessing e-books, storing your references, to taking a break from studying to borrow one of their DVDs.

4. Book a Study Advice session. 

These 30-minutes one-on-one sessions are tailored to your needs. Our Study Advisers aim to help you develop your own study skills to study more effectively and achieve academic success. The service is open Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:00 and you can book a session in advance by emailing studyadvice@reading.ac.uk or calling 0118 378 4242. Read more on the Study Advice website – including their online guides and tutorials.

5. Explore the Whiteknights campus.

The University is lucky to be located at the heart of an area teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. If you’re yet to have a chance to traverse the lakes and forests, this week is the perfect opportunity. The Whiteknights biodiversity project estimates that there are over 1537 species in the area. Make sure you take in Harris Garden, a landscape garden with roots going back to the 18th century.

6. Try out a new student society or activity. 

With over 150 societies to choose from, there is bound to something you have always wanted to try out. Meet some new people, destress and have fun!

 

Contact your school SSC to find out more about departmental events

Help us decide how to move forward on Race Equality at the University of Reading.

As a University, we want to take forward our work on racial and ethnic diversity. We need to develop concrete plans that will help us make progress on a range of challenges, and your student voice can help us to do this.

We want to ensure that all our students have an equal opportunity to develop their potential, irrespective of their race or ethnicity.

To make sure that our future initiatives are relevant and stand a good chance of success, we are seeking views from across the University on race and ethnicity.

We would therefore be extremely grateful if you could take a few moments to complete the Race Equality Charter Mark survey – the survey has been devised by the Equality Challenge Unit and should only take around 15 minutes to complete.

The survey is anonymous, but we do ask for some demographic data to allow us to link responses to particular ethnic groups. A similar survey is also being circulated to staff.

Feedback gained through the Race Equality Charter Mark survey will help to give us your views on everything from curriculum and assessments to societies and social facilities. We aim to collect as many views as possible from a diverse range of voices – we want to hear your suggestions on what we could do to advance race and equality here at Reading.

The survey will run until Wednesday 1 November.

If you require a paper copy of the survey, please contact Yasmin Ahmed.

It has come to our attention that colleagues may have received a spamemail pretending to be from the University’s IT department.

The email shows two addresses – it pretends to be from the ‘IT Self Service Portal it@reading.ac.uk’ but the real sender address is carsal@edu.xunta.es. The message says:

“This is to inform you that we are currently updating our Web-mail interface to a new one for all employees and students. This is to improve security and reduce spam attacks on our staff and student account.

“Download and open through your web browser the University of Reading web page attached to this email and follow the Instructions on the page as instructed to migrate to the new Web mail interface.

“This procedure is in accordance with the security update Of the University of Reading policy, non-compliance with this Instruction will result in difficulties, to be taken into account.”

The email includes a HTML attachment for ‘Outlook Web App’.

This is not a legitimate request – please ensure you and your colleagues do not click on the attachment or follow any of the instructions given in the email.

IT would like to remind users to be careful when they receive emails that look suspicious.

Our systems block approximately 3 million spam emails every week – even with these measures in place, a small number of spam emails still manage to get through.

Spam emails can be hard to spot, especially if they use ‘spoofed’ email addresses or pretend to be sent from an existing University system.

These emails can also be malicious, and opening links or attachments from them could put your work and personal information at risk.

We ask you to be vigilant and consider the following actions when opening email at work:

  • Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Email addresses can be ‘spoofed’ to look like an address you trust. Check the email address carefully, and if unsure, check with the sender.
  • If the email pretends to be sent from a specific system, check the email carefully – emails sent from the University will include clear sender details and branding (including University email signatures).

A screenshot of the email detailed above is available for reference.

IT also recommend the following security guidelines:

  • Use strong passwords, including a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Never share your password or write it down.
  • Don’t allow family members or non-authorised people to use your work computer.

If you receive an email you believe to be suspicious or would like further information or advice, please visit the IT webpage: www.reading.ac.uk/it

 

The University of Reading and its long-term partners University Partnerships Programme (UPP) are inviting students, staff, and local residents to view and comment on the proposals for the redevelopment of the St Patrick’s Hall site. This will take place on Wednesday 25 October at 12pm to 2pm in the Old Senior Common Room in The Shamrock Café, St Patrick’s Hall.

We will also be hosting a small exhibition of the proposal boards in the Lower Lobby of the Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) Building at our Whiteknights campus on Friday 27 October from 11am to 3pm. All students and staff are welcome to come along during the day.

If you can’t make it in person, you can also view the proposals and submit comments online from Thursday 26 October to Thursday 9 November at reading.ac.uk/st-patricks-project/.

Why redevelop St Patrick’s Hall?
It is important that the University of Reading continues to provide students with high quality accommodation.

There has been a £100m investment in on-campus accommodation through the University’s partnership with University Partnerships Programme (UPP), which has increased overall capacity by 1,500 rooms to 4,982. This is in response to increased demand for high-quality, competitively priced accommodation and to grow our provision of on-campus rooms.

St Patrick’s Hall is the next site to be redeveloped, expanded and upgraded.

 

What has changed since the previous application?

Some of you may be aware that we withdrew our original application to redevelop St Patrick’s Hall in light of the Council’s decision to locally list Pearson’s Court. We postponed a second public exhibition in January 2017 to allow for further detailed design development with our partners, key stakeholders and heritage advisors.

Our revised plans maintain the University’s objectives to respond to the growing demand for on-campus accommodation, whilst preserving the campus’ heritage. In response to feedback from across the community, changes have been made to the proposals which were last viewed at our public exhibition in October 2015.

 

How many new student bedrooms will there be at St Patrick’s Hall?

Our latest proposals aim to provide 702 additional student bedrooms.

The proposed scheme will increase capacity, improve the quality and provide a greater choice of accommodation for undergraduates, postgraduates, and returners. The new proposals provide a good balance of accommodation styles at a variety of rents.

 

Visit reading.ac.uk/st-patricks-project to find out more. Contact stpatsproject@reading.ac.uk with any queries.

Cyclists should note that the bike sheds outside the front of the Library will be out of use from Wednesday 11 October.

The hoarding outside the Library entrance will move forward to safely enclose refurbishment works around the front of the building – as a result, the bike sheds need to be removed.

The nearest place to park your bike will be the bike racks outside the URS building. Other racks are available in the Palmer quad and outside Whiteknights House.

Please be sure to move your bike from the Library cycle sheds before Wednesday 11 October.

Stay up-to-date

All of the latest Library refurbishment news is available on the Library blog – keep checking back for updates.

For more information on the refurbishment, please see our dedicated Library Refurbishment Project page.

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